Transalp Stage 3: 72.30km and 2598m of climbing
Stage 3 takes us to familiar territory. Both times Chris has done the Transalp he has ridden from Scuol to Livigno and we have returned here for training camps/holidays for the last 3 years. We have come to know and love the trails around this beautiful part of the world. They have been the scene of many a “it didn’t look that far on the map” adventure and provided many a memory (most of them happy!). We were waiting for stages 3 and 4 with excited anticipation.
Pernsteiner and Geismayr with back-to-back wins
Austrians Hermann Pernsteiner and Daniel Geismayr have celebrated their second consecutive stage win at this year’s BIKE Transalp. Centurion Vaude 2 mastered the 72.30 km and 2,598 metres of climbing from Scuol to Livigno in a time of 3h17m just edging out overall leaders from Team Topeak Ergon Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek. However, Topeak Ergon Racing 1 was able to defend its lead in the overall ranking going into tomorrow’s fourth of seven stages, with an advantage of 39 seconds over today’s victorious pair.
Third went to Team Bulls 1 3h20m and are now also sitting in third place overall. Karl Platt and Urs Huber lost 2m46s today having kept the pace high early on in the stage. However, in the final climb to Passo Trela, the German seven-time Transalp champ Platt rapidly lost energy after he and the reigning Swiss marathon champ had initiated an attack after the long ascent to Pass da Costainas.
“It was pretty gentle riding in the beginning, but then the field got separated pretty quickly. We then entered the final climb with the two other teams where we lost Team Bulls soon after,” summed up Kristian Hynek. “It was a good stage for us again. We didn’t win but we had everything under control again. We are still in Yellow, and that is the most important thing,” said this year’s world championship bronze medallist before also warning:
“We capitalized on the profound local knowledge of Centurion Vaude which have been here for a training camp, which helped increasing the lead over the third ranked team. But they are very strong, and there are still four more days of hard work to come. Still, a lot of things can happen.”
Today’s stage profile wasn’t to the taste of the two Austrians who hope to keep the momentum for the next couple of days as Herman Pernsteiner explained:
“Those many short climbs are not in our nature. We prefer longer climbs. And today, the others pushed it a lot. We will see how things turn out. It’s still very exciting – and having two wins in the books is also nice.”
Another change of leadership in the women’s category
The third day of Transalp racing brought the third different pair leading the women category.
Although Sara Reiners & Cemile Trommer of Team Nutrixxion Focus RAPIRO came in second, four minutes behind Veronika Weiss and Naima Diesner of fi’zi;k today, they took over the Pink Jerseys of the leading women duo.
Both rolled in 3.43 minutes ahead of today’s third best female team Lorenza Menapace and Elisabeth Ann Simpson of Val di Sole Bikeland_Lady edging them off the top step overall by 55 seconds.
More excitement in grand master category
In a mirror of the senior men’s race, the pursuers in the grand master category were able to make up some time on the leading duo – in fact a lot of time.
Thomas Damm and Peter Vesel of Scott Fahrradladen Gudensberg won again, crossing the finish line 8m30s ahead of leading duo Hansjuerg Gerber and Daniel Annaheim. However, the Swiss still have a slender lead of 56 seconds with four more stages to come.
Master and mixed leaders keep on moving fast
Defending champions in the Masters category Massimo Debertolis and Andreas Laner brought home another stage win, just like mixed leaders Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas of Topeak Ergon Racing 3.
Tomorrow’s fourth stage from Livigno to Bormio brings some seriously tough climbs: the most feared of which, the Bocchetta di Forcola, takes the riders to the roof of this year’s race at nearly 2,800m. In total, 73.55 km and 2,573 metres of climbing lie ahead.
You can find all results of stage three here.
Feels like home
Sometimes knowing what lies ahead is helpful and sometimes it isn’t. We experienced both today. From trepidation about the steep Alp Buffalora to excitement about the two long descents. Chris’s favourite trail in the world is the ride down Passo Gallo, with its sweeping switchbacks and death defying waterfall crossing. He was grinning from ear to ear with a train of riders behind taking advantage of our prior knowledge.
For me the descent of the day came one climb later down Passo Trella and into Livigno. I was a bit over excited to ride this trail and lost all sensibility, charging into a river crossing at 50km/h was in hindsight rather insane. I very nearly lost it to shouts of calm down from Chris behind me. Then I did it again. D’oh.
Unfortunately knowing the riding around here also means I know the horrors that await tomorrow. The last time we went up the Umbrail Pass to the Bochetta di Forcola we were chased down by a thunderstorm. Lets hope that doesn’t happen again!
For me (Chris) today’s stage was a carbon copy of a ride I did last “summer” (and I punctuate it wisely) when Rachel and her parents went for a day out in Scuol. It was about 7 degrees, and raining sideways, and thankfully that’s where the similarity to today ended. Fellow intrepid Transalper Thomas Dooley described the first climb out of Scuol as being like someone was pulling at your saddle for 20km. Today, that was a reality for me, as poor Rachel needed a bit of a tow to get her started. But once she got going, all was good – my face hurts from smiling at the endless alpine single track above 2000m. We even had a bit of a pass/pass back battle with our Spanish friends from yesterday.
With due trepidation, we are now off to check the weather for tomorrow. Please no storms….